From the Brooklyn Paper:
The Queens-based developer and Bronx financial partner who won a bid from the city to redevelop the defunct Greenpoint Hospital into affordable housing, contributed thousands of dollars to the neighborhood’s powerful assemblyman and his political allies in what opponents say was a naked ploy to win the bid.
Last year, as city housing officials were deciding the fate of the coveted Greenpoint Hospital project, Great American Construction Corporation and TNS Development Group donated $1,500 to the re-election campaign of Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D–Williamsburg), who is also the Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman.
In 2008, Great American President Samuel Gaccione kicked in $1,000 of his own money to Lopez’s unopposed campaign to go with another $1,000 that Gaccione gave to Lopez in 2004.
Gaccione’s financial partner, Bronx-based Lemle & Wolf, has been similarly active in Brooklyn politics, giving Lopez $2,000 since 2008. Last year, the company’s president, Frank Anelante, supported Lopez-backed Council candidates Steve Levin and Maritza Davila with contributions of $500 each, while his wife, Lorraine Anelante, chipped in another $250 to each candidate.
And if that weren’t enough, Lemle & Wolff’s Political Action Committee, Affordable Housing PAC, has given Lopez’s Assembly campaign $4,400 since 2006 to ensure that the Housing Committee chairman stays in office. The PAC also gave $350 to Lopez’s party organization.
So what has Great American Construction and Lemle & Wolff gotten in return?
In April, the two housing development partners were awarded the site, beating out the Greenpoint Renaissance Enterprise Corporation, and the Bushwick-based Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, which Lopez founded.
Great American’s plan to bring 240 below-market-rate units to the Kingsland Avenue site was nearly identical to the Greenpoint group’s plan, whose group’s members had worked on the proposal for more than two decades.
Councilwoman Diana Reyna (D–Williamsburg), a rival of Lopez’s, believes that the Assemblyman steered the city toward Great American’s bid for the Greenpoint Hospital in retaliation for her objection to his Broadway Triangle rezoning plan.